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Franz-Guess, Sandra; Klußmann-Fricke, Bastian-Jesper; Wirkner, Christian S.; Prendini, Lorenzo; Starck, J. Matthias (2016): Morphology of the tracheal system of camel spiders (Chelicerata: Solifugae) based on micro-CT and 3D-reconstruction in exemplar species from three families. In: Arthropod Structure & Development, Vol. 45, No. 5: pp. 440-451
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We studied the tracheal system of exemplar species representing three families of Solifugae Sundevall, 1833, i.e., Galeodes granti Pocock, 1903, Ammotrechula wasbaueri Muma, 1962 and Eremobates sp., using mu CT-imaging and 3D-reconstruction. This is the first comparative study of the tracheal system of Solifugae in 85 years and the first using high-resolution nondestructive methods. The tracheal system was found to be structurally similar in all three species, with broad major tracheae predominantly in the prosoma as well as anastomoses (i.e., connections between tracheal branches from different stigmata) in the prosoma and opisthosoma. Differences among the three species were observed in the presence or absence of cheliceral air sacs, the number of tracheae supplying the heart, and the ramification of major tracheae in the opisthosoma. The structure of the tracheal system with its extensive branches and some anastomoses is assumed to aid rapid and efficient gas exchange in the respiratory tissues of these active predators. The large diameter of cheliceral tracheae (air sacs) of taxa with disproportionally heavier chelicerae suggests a role in weight reduction, enabling solifuges to reach greater speeds during predation. The air sacs may also permit more rapid and efficient gaseous exchange, necessary to operate the musculature of these structures, thereby improving their use for predation in an environment where prey is scarce. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.